Introduction: Mölkky-- an Outdoor Throwing Game
Molkky is a Finnish throwing game, invented in 1996, which I had never heard of... But I learned that it's a very simple project that can be built in a few evenings.
(A friend asked me if I could make a Molkky set for them. I did some research online and then designed my own set in Sketchup and set about building them.)
Step 1: Option: Video Build
If you would prefer, you can watch a video of this project build. Otherwise, read on!
Step 2: Prepare and Glue Up Stock for the Pins
I started with some spare 2x4 stock. I cut them down to pieces approximately 5ft long and then jointed one face.
I then applied a liberal dose of glue and clamped the boards together to make larger pieces.
Once the glue had dried I went back to the jointer and jointed two sides to be a perfect 90-degree angle and then ripped the boards down to be 2-1/2" by 2-1/2" in size.
Step 3: Make the Pins Round-ISH
Most of the Molkky sets that I saw online had round pins. Some were perfectly round, and some used sections of branches for the pins. I don't have a lathe, or a supply of branches. However, I do have a great big roundover bit. So I ran all four sides of my blanks through the roundover bit so I had round-ISH boards at least.
Step 4: Cutting and Labelling the Pins
I then cut all the boards down to 15" sections. These were then split in half with a 30-degree cut, which left pins that were 8" tall. I made a dozen of these pins.
I also made one throwing pin (not shown). I made that out of a 10" chunk of cherry that I happened to have. I could have used some of the glued-up 2x4 stock, but I wanted something with a bit more heft, and the cherry is much denser than the spruce 2x4s that we have around here.
I sanded off all the rough bits, with a special focus on the angled face. I want the face to be as smooth as possible to receive the number.
I used the acetone toner-transfer method to apply numbers to the face of the pins.
(Here is a youtube video where John Heisz of ibuildit.ca explains and demonstrates this method, if you want to learn that also.)
Given that these were end-grain pieces, I was quite pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out. I only had to add some colour to the #10 pin.
Step 5: Make a Storage Tote As Well
Making the game was pretty quick and easy. So I decided to also quickly throw together a storage tote to go with it. I designed a simple crate in Sketchup (plan at the bottom of this page) and built it out of various scrap plywood and wood laying around my shop. For the bottom I used some scrap plywood from a classroom lab which has a plastic coating. (the green plastic coating is face down on the tablesaw in the photo, sorry!) I arranged for that to be the bottom of the tote, for durability and water resistance (This is an outdoor game!).
I stacked the two end pieces and then cut a curve on the top and smoothed it on my Homemade disc sander.
Two two-inch-wide slats were fastened on both sides of the tote. The bottom slat and the end were positioned up about 1/16", so that only the plastic coating on the bottom of the plywood base would contact the ground.
I gave all the pieces a quick shot of spray lacquer. This will give some much needed protection to the toner-transfer numbers.
By accident I designed the ends of the tote a bit on the short side, so I had to change my handle to an arched handle to provide sufficient clearance. I changed the plans below such that the ends were two inches taller.
Step 6: Very Basic Plans.
Here are the (very basic) plans that I used to build this game. Please note that this first drawing does not allow for the saw kerf, so in reality I cut these pieces to 15" long (as noted above) before cutting them in two.